It first started in a little garage apartment near Downtown Tulsa. Family and friends had given us a shower and a “Chivaree” (more about that old custom in a coming post!) A well-rounded mix of utilitarian items, such as pots and pans, including some new to me–Corning Ware, five bath rug sets,linens, dishes, and some wonderful decor pieces were now ours to use or abuse. Yes, abuse! What else could you call letting the same pan, but different potatoes, scorch over and over again!
I’ve always loved art in so many forms and drew my way through many a notebook during Study Hall while in my high school years. Not to worry–I still managed to pass! Anything artistic was “right up my alley”.
When we married, we joined a book club. You promised to order x number of books in a year and you got to pick a couple or more books free, just for joining. We ordered a dictionary and a book about interior decorating that I remember. I quickly accepted the challenge to make decor an expression of myself. Many years would pass before my spouse would feel comfortable voicing any style preferences. We simply didn’t think about it.
In the early 60’s, in Oklahoma, young college-age hubbies didnt’t get into decor that much. However, the minute Mr E saw the brightly painted turquoise bedstead and nightstands, he firmly announced his parents had a set in their attic more suitable by far for the new residents of “Haven O’er the Garage”(my title–I like to name things. There would be over 20 residences we would call home during this union!) It cracks me up that people today are painting furniture, and anything else they can think of, that very shade of turquoise!
It was so much fun to have our own little rented haven to decorate and set up just as we wished. Open built-in shelves in the living room were soon adorned with a few volumes and a pair of sweet china vases, having a Victorian gent on one vase and his corresponding Victorian lass on the other. A decade later I would take these to South America to adorn our home there. Rather sadly, they never made it back nor have I seen similar ones in the flea markets I’ve haunted over the years. I’d be pleased to think they still grace some shelf in a cozy setting ‘way south of the Equator!
Our children became another factor in my decor decisions. Although they spent many years both here and abroad, I wanted our home to always have some familiar flavor to it from “the States”. Someday we would return to visit family and supporting churches and I wanted our children to see somewhat familiar settings and styles. I dreaded that they should ever feel out of place in their own culture and nation. If only I could have made their various transitions trauma-free!
While living in that world, I always incorporated local art and crafts in our homes because we have love Latin America and its people so much. I wanted them, to feel our appreciation of our host country during the years we were there, and to feel comfortable and welcome in our home.
The third factor was and is seasonal/holiday decor. Thanksgiving Day, for example, is purely a North American Holiday, with Canada celebrating it on a different month and day. A few European nations have harvest festivals and it would seem a few other countries picked up similar customs due to contact with our service men. We have other unique holidays, as Labor Day, President’s Day, etc. And Latin Americans have their Independence Days, Saint’s Days and many others. Some like Easter and Christmas we share, though customs vary widely.
I wanted our family to continue to observe our holidays, even though we lived south of the equator and therefore Easter was in autumn, Fourth of July was in winter, Thanksgiving was in Spring and Christmas was full-on summer! Any seasonal decor with spring blossoms, chicks and bunnies for Easter, as well as autumn oranges and Browns for Thanksgiving, or reds and greens with snow-scenes for Christmas was just a little off with the seasons reversed.
Now we’ve lived Stateside several years, the children have children of their own, and I’m probably changing the decor for them…and a little bit for my hubby and me. God gave us seasons. I try to enjoy the seasons of my days as I have enjoyed the seasons of my life.
So, what now that the pinks and reds of Valentine’s Day are going back in their bin? What color shall we pull out of the hat? Why, “robin’s egg blue”, of course! I hear the birds chirping and warbling out my windows pretty often these days. They love that there’s water in the birdbath and seed in the feeders.
It’s time to bring out the cute little nests with tiny speckled eggs and feathery birds who will not take flight. They will behave as they ought, in a proper living area; will delight the youngest grandchild, who knows about pretend, and satisfy some latent longing for a mossy tramp through the woods this country heart has known…in this world…and my other one far, far away.